Reader Feedback Survey for the New Year

Happy New Year’s Eve! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are ready to ring in the new year either at a wild party or a quiet night at home. No matter what you’re doing, have fun and be safe!

As I prepare myself to kick-off 2014, I have been thinking a lot about my blog and where it’s headed. I am not one for new year resolutions, but changing my blog for the better is something I’m looking forward to accomplishing this year. I don’t know exactly what that means quite yet, but I do hope to get some help with the overall format and design, and hope to improve my posts with prettier pictures and more enticing writing.

Now here is where you come in. I put together a very short survey for you to take. I want to know my readers more and the answers to these questions will help me be sure I’m providing content you want to read. 

I would be forever grateful for each of you who spend just a few minutes taking the survey. Thank you in advance!!!

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Fall Bucket List 2013 Final Wrap-Up

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

When I looked at my phone this morning and saw “December 23” I couldn’t believe it. Not only is it in the upper 70’s here in Charleston, but I’m working today and tomorrow. So it doesn’t quite feel like Christmas yet. Although, Greg and were super productive and in the holiday spirit this weekend. We finished our Christmas shopping, wrapped all of the presents, and I cleaned almost the entire house in preparation to go out of town for several days.

Side note: When I was younger, I never understood why my mom spent so much time cleaning right before we left for vacation. What was the point?! I get it now!! I absolutely hate coming back home to a messy house when I already have a suitcase full of dirty laundry and am too exhausted from the travel to even think about cleaning. Nowadays I make a point to wash as much laundry, clean as many dishes, and vacum as many floors as possible before leaving town. Like mother like daughter! …almost. I’m not quite as clean as my mom.

Okay so enough with that. Now that it is officially WINTER, I want to do a final wrap-up of my Fall Bucket List. Remember this?:

I already went over #1, #3, and #6 here.  
So how did I do on the rest?
#2. I made pumpkin donuts and double chocolate pumpkin cupcakes. No pumpkin muffins this year, but I can’t complain. 
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#4. Greg and I fulfilled this dream of going to a Panther’s game last weekend when they beat the Jets! It was so much fun spending the day in Charlotte and seeing my our boyfriend Cam in real live action.
#5. We did roast marshmallows and make s’mores, but not over our own fire pit. Our backyard/patio is currently a much delayed work in progress as we wait for our patio stones to be delivered. 
#7. I made it to the Farmer’s Market once or twice this fall. It’s losing my interest though, unless I have a specific gift to buy or have out of town visitor’s. I have found the The Vegetable Bin (which I previously posted about here) has the same produce for much cheaper! 
#8. We took Zoey to the beach on Thanksgiving Day. Oh my goodness, she LOVED it. The beach that is, not the water. So you can imagine her fear when she accidentally chased another dog into some standing water and refused to move for 10 minutes. It was in the low 30’s outside, so the water was freezing as well. What a little baby!! Gotta love her. 
#9. Okay so how terrible is it that the one thing I did NOT do on my list was volunteer? Ugh. #ImNotABadPersonIPromise!
Skipping right ahead…
#10. Although I love dates of all kinds, breakfast dates always feel so special to me. It’s nice to spend a lazy Saturday morning sipping coffee and eating a pastry with Greg by my side. With the hustle and bustle of our lives right now, it doesn’t get to happen often. I am happy to say we got to do this a few times this fall.
And that’s it! Fall 2013 is history. Bring it on, Winter! (just as long as temperatures remain in the 60’s/70’s, even though I know that’s not happening). 
On another note, you may have noticed my serious decline in posting recently. To be honest, I don’t anticipate that changing for a few more weeks. Part of it has been due to the fact our wireless internet modem broke last week, so we’ve been disconnected whether we like it or not. And the other part of it is simply due to the extreme craziness of the holiday season. 
I’ll re-evaluate when we get back from visiting family in North Carolina and Ohio this week and next. Until then, MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY NEW YEAR, AND VERY SAFE TRAVELS!!!!

Holiday Travel Snacks

With the holidays upon us, I know I’m not the only one with travel plans. I’ll be driving everywhere this year, as opposed to flying. The most important part of a road trip, besides gas in the car, is an assortment of SNACKS! I suppose these are all great for airplane travel too (just make sure to buy the liquids after you get through security, but you already know that).

Here are my favorites.

Peanut Butter Puffins
I discovered Puffins a few years ago while babysitting for a family who always kept them stocked in the pantry. I don’t eat cereal often, but when I saw these a couple of months ago on sale at Target, I figured I’d switch up my morning routine with something new. They have original and peanut butter. The PB is divine. Perfectly crunchy and if you ask me, best eaten dry by the handful – no milk required!

I love scooping a cup into a plastic baggy to take on the go.

Clif Bars
Oh look! More peanut butter. I am usually not fond of protein or nutrition bars like this, mostly because I’d rather consume 200-400 calories differently. I just have never found a bar that is really “worth it.” I still have to be in the right mood, but when I am, Clif Bars are my go-to bar. I have only tried a few flavors, but the Crunchy Peanut Butter has been my favorite.

Fresh fruit like apples and bananas
Light, healthy and guilt-free. Need I say more?

Frosted Animal Cookies
Okay, these are going to be the death of me. I have such a love-hate relationship with this giant bear jug. Another Target gem, I could eat these things forever. They are dangerously addicting. There is no such thing as “just one” with these. Portion control is key and road trips allow you to practice that control. By only packing a small handful in a ziplock bag, when they’re gone, they’re gone. No sneaking back to the pantry for more when you are hundreds of miles away speeding down the highway.

Bottled Water
Stay hydrated! Water is my best friend. So are bathroom breaks.

Coffee.
Gas station coffee is nice and cheap (the gas station by my house sells any size cup for just 60 cents!). But it’s also nice to treat yourself to something special on the road with Starbucks.

Why, yes. I found the most tempting picture I could 😉 I never get whipped cream on my lattes, but when the barista accidentally put it on my peppermint mocha this weekend, I was not about to complain. It didn’t quite look like that picture though. Sigh.

Sugar Free Red Bull.
When it’s the middle of the night and coffee doesn’t sound good, I resort to Sugar Free Red Bull. I know it’s not good for me, but desperate times call for desperate measures. It does the trick, no denying that.

There you have it.

What are your road trip or airline must-haves?

A Lunch Date at Boone Hall Farms

One of the most popular plantations around Charleston (Mount Pleasant to be exact) is Boone Hall. The plantation draws crowds to its pumpkin patch during the fall and strawberry fields in the spring. They supply produce to local restaurants and have their own market/cafe as well. I drive by frequently and have always wanted to see what the market had to offer. Last week, when we didn’t have any groceries at home in preparation for the excessive Thanksgiving food coming our way, Greg and I met at Boone Hall Farms market for a lunch date.

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After we got our waters and placed our orders at the cute picnic style tables, we wandered around the store to explore. 
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So much fresh produce!
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I could have easily spent a lot of money stocking up on jams, dressings, baking mixes and other goodies. I resisted at the time, but am excited to go back for Christmas gifts for family and friends. 
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Oh, and did I mention the wine?! I wasn’t expecting this. 
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Finally, it was time to eat. Since I was in the mood to try a variety of things, the Vegetable Plate was the perfect choice. It comes with your choice of four side dishes plus a cornbread muffin. I chose butter beans, broccoli salad, sweet potato fries (sprinkled with cinnamon sugar!!!) and garden vegetables which included roasted carrots, onion, pepper and potatoes. I couldn’t get enough, jumping from one side dish to another, but ultimately those giant thick-cut sweet potato fries were the star of the show. 
I somehow managed to avoid the dessert counter full of cakes and ice cream. It’s a good thing I was in a hurry to get back to the office otherwise I would have likely walked out with a ice cream cone in one hand and a slice of cake “for later” in the other. 
The Boone Hall Farms cafe is my kind of place and I can’t wait to get back for more. 
Locals – Have you been to Boone Hall Farms? If you’re not from around here, do you have any place like this where you live?

Thanksgiving Weekend: The Food

I spent the past five days soaking in quality time with family and friends. It was fabulous. We had the best Thanksgiving, with Greg and I hosting for the first time as a married couple in our new home. I didn’t take many photos at all, but here are a few that I have of the food. Since after all, besides family and friends, it is alllllll about the food.

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Turkey turkey!
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Homemade Cranberry Sauce
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Aged Cheddar Mac and Cheese from Crave
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Modified version of this Brussels Sprouts Saute from Bev Cooks
I am so blessed for the gifts God has given my family and me. Thankful doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling. Praise the Lord for times like these, food this delicious, and big wins by OSU and Auburn this weekend 😉 Go Bucks and War Eagle!!